Confusion, inaction plague uninsured



Like many of the long-term uninsured, Carlethia Dorsey knew she needed to sign up for health insurance next year and wanted to take advantage of the Affordable Care Act through the Health Insurance Marketplaces.

The question was, how.

“I didn’t know how to sign up and go about it,” said Dorsey, 61.

Her story is not unusual. A poll released Tuesday showed that only about 7 percent of uninsured Americans felt “very prepared” to sign up for health insurance and that nearly a third had not even heard of the marketplaces that many will use to sign up.

Worse, 61 percent of the uninsured – whom the law was designed to help – said they have not done anything to prepare to get health insurance, and 55 percent said they were still “not sure” what they would do to comply with the health insurance mandate, according to the survey by the Transamerica Center for Health Studies.

Only 5 percent said they were planning to forgo insurance and pay the fine. Of those who said they would not sign up for insurance, 38 percent said it was because they did not support the law “on principle,” according to the survey.

On the positive side, 35 percent of those who had not been able to get health insurance because of a pre-existing condition said they would get insurance through the law. As part of the federal act, insurers cannot deny coverage for adults with pre-existing conditions as of Jan. 1.

To help her get signed up, Dorsey was able to turn to navigator Terri Gant, of Medical Associates Plus at Belle Terrace. They created an account for Dorsey but then were stymied by the Web site’s being overloaded Tuesday; visitors were asked to wait, a message that continued to appear late into the afternoon. Nonetheless, Dorsey said she is determined to get it done.

Gant, who holds regular sessions in the community, spends a lot of her time educating people on how that should happen before she jumps in to provide individual help. Dorsey said she is grateful for the help but believes the solution lies in a higher source than whoever is trying to fix the Web site.

“I’m patient,” she said. “I’m going to wait on the Lord. I’m not going to wait on man. I’m waiting on the Lord.”

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